The perfect store: Harnessing the winds of shopper change, Part 1

Some of SmartCompany‘s readers, and attendees at conferences I have spoken at, will be familiar with my ‘Retail Trifecta’, a concept I published here at SmartCompany back in August 2010.

The three aligned areas, done well, create a multiplying effect which delivers a great shopping experience, and leads to happier shoppers who spend money and want to return, as well as generating positive word of mouth.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen reports of new US and European stores entering, or planning to enter, Australia. Online shopping has impacted our traditional retailers over the pre-Christmas cyber season as well as Christmas and New Year sales in both good and bad ways.

We’ve heard of retail rents dropping as independent stores close or chains are restructured in the hands of receivers. We’ve seen pop-up stores opening. And we’ve witnessed the continuing globalisation of retailers, large and small, as the internet gives shoppers greater product and price knowledge, choice and a say in all things retail.

So, over the next three weeks, I will look at the three elements that create the Retail Trifecta. I’ll apply many of the successful retail trends we are seeing around the world that are contributing to the creation of the “Perfect Store”, and discuss how local retailers can adapt them to create the winning formula.

To start the process, here are the original words from my August 2010 SmartCompany blog, to introduce or re-introduce you to the three areas of the Retail Trifecta.

1. Point of sale/back-office systems

The unseen hero in retailing is the system that is the backbone of a retailer’s operations. It ensures things are in the store at the right price when we want them. Allowing us to seamlessly and quickly transact without too much wait time, and in the true discretionary spend retailers, providing the retail store staff with readily accessible information to help us with our purchase or recommended other items to us.

2. Outstanding store design

Design that entices us to enter the store; holds us captive in store for longer than we should; and allows us to feel comfortable and confident enough to spend. This is either intrinsic in the shopping environment, such as the feeling you get at farmers markets or in souks, floating markets and bazaars in the developing world. More often in the West it’s shaped, designed and created to allow us to feel involved.

This is not a new phenomenon. From Spitalfields and Covent Garden in London, The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul to Vic Markets in Melbourne, all of these large retailing spaces achieve this today and have for hundreds of years.

3. Genuine service from passionate and knowledgeable store staff

This one pays out like a trifecta when retailers align all three.

Two-and-a-half years on, and the role of mobile shopping, online payments, integrated online and in-store inventory and “click and collect’ have all further expanded the shopping experience. I look forward to sharing these thoughts and observations with you, and seeing whether great retailing can still be delivered via a trifecta, or whether it’s grown to a quinella!

As CROSSMARK CEO, Kevin Moore looks at the world of retailing from grocery to pharmacy, bottle shops to car dealers, corner store to department stores. In this blog, Kevin covers retail news, ideas, companies and emerging opportunities in Australia and across the world. His international career in sales and marketing has seen him responsible for businesses in over 40 countries, which has earned him grey hair and a wealth of expertise in international retailers and brands.



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